Among workplace hazards, electricity is one of the most dangerous. Unfortunately, many types of workers are exposed to electrical hazards on a frequent basis, such as electricians, utility line workers, and construction workers. If an accident occurs, the victim can be badly shocked or even electrocuted, leading to death or serious injury. When a workplace electrocution accident happens in Baltimore, the victim or their family may be entitled to compensation under Maryland laws.
If you or your spouse was shocked at work, you could be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Depending on the situation, you may even have cause to file a personal injury lawsuit. You should review your legal options with an experienced lawyer for injured workers in Baltimore, like Randolph Rice. For a free legal consultation, call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291, or contact us online today.
Workplace Electrocution Accident Statistics
Statistics reveal high numbers of workplace deaths and injuries caused by electrical accidents, particularly within certain industries. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that electrocution was the third leading cause of death in the construction industry during 2018. That year, electric accidents killed 86 construction workers, making electrocutions responsible for almost 9% of all fatalities in the industry. In fact, approximately half of all workplace electrical fatalities occur in the construction industry, creating a disproportionate risk for construction workers.
Across industries, somewhere between 1,000 and 3,000 people suffer workplace electrical injuries annually. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), there was a low of approximately 1,640 injuries in 2016, with a high of roughly 2,950 injuries in 2005.
About Shock Injuries + Electrical Burns at Work
Electric shocks can cause death or serious injury in a matter of seconds, depending on the strength of the current. The current, not the voltage, plays the greater role in causing injury or death. Even low voltages can be lethal, with deaths recorded from contact with just 42 volts.
Electrical current is measured in amperes (amps). Just 0.01 amps can cause serious injuries, while 0.1 to 0.2 amps is deadly. Depending on these factors, as well as the length of contact with the electric current, an accident can be fatal or lead to the following injuries and complications:
- Dislocated joints or bone fractures resulting from powerful muscle contractions
- Cardiac arrest, where the heart stops pumping blood throughout the body
- Electrical burns and internal burns
- Impaired sense of balance and coordination
- Loss of limbs, which may need to be amputated if the damage is too severe to repair
- Nerve damage
- Respiratory problems
How Do Electrical Shock Accidents Happen at Work?
Workplaces must take proper precautions to minimize the risk of injury to employees. Nonetheless, thousands of people are injured each year.
Most of these accidents are preventable and result from an unsafe environment, an unsafe task, or unsafe equipment. Even though you do your job correctly, factors like defective safety gear, careless coworkers, or exposed wiring can still put you in harm’s path. Potential causes of a workplace shock or electrocution in Baltimore include:
- Coworkers or supervisors who are reckless, careless, or even intoxicated on the job
- Faulty or defective wiring, machinery, or circuit breakers
- Inaccurate markings, or lack of markings, to designate wiring
- Lack of adequate job training or supervision
- Lack of proper safety equipment
- Wiring that is exposed
Compensation for Employees Electrocuted or Shocked at Work in Baltimore
As an injured worker in Baltimore, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under Maryland laws, which, with a few exceptions, generally require employers to carry coverage. Workman’s compensation is meant to reimburse part of your wages and, in some cases, provide additional benefits.
If you receive workers’ comp benefits in Baltimore, you may lose your ability to sue your employer for negligence. However, you may still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party, or someone other than your employer, depending on how and why you were shocked. For example, if you were shocked because of a faulty part of product, parties like the manufacturer could be liable for your injuries.
You may be able to get compensated for a variety of losses, or “damages.” This may include compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of income, and diminished future earning capacity. If the worker was killed, his or her surviving dependents may also be entitled to death benefits through workers’ compensation. In certain cases, a wrongful death lawsuit could potentially be filed. A skilled and compassionate electric shock attorney, like Randolph Rice, can help you understand the options that may be available to your family.
Baltimore Electrocution at Work Lawyer
If your spouse was electrocuted while doing his or her job, or if you were shocked in an accident at work, help is only a phone call away. For a free legal consultation, call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291, or contact us online today to schedule an appointment. Serving the Baltimore region, we are available 24/7 to help injured workers and their families.